by Chrishonda Brown
Squash is one of the most versatile vegetables in the produce section. Not only is it full of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, but squash is also an excellent fibrous choice to help fill up your family for fewer calories.
When purchasing squash, choose one with a heavy, firm feel and no soft spots. Look for smooth, dull skin with even color and no visible nicks.
Store fresh squash in a cool, dark place for up to 30 days. Once cut, refrigerate in plastic for up to five days.
Squash can be prepared in many ways, as the entire vegetable is edible, including seeds and blossoms. Roast in the oven, then serve in pieces or mashed. Sauté on the stovetop with herbs. Grill on skewers or eat raw slices in salads or with dip. Add to casseroles for extra flavor and nutrition. With so many options, squash can easily become a new family favorite this summer.
Chrishonda Brown, who holds a Master of Science in kinesiology, is a guest columnist for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. For more recipes visit www.kidsacooking.org Like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KSREWyco and follow us on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.
Spaghetti Squash Surprise
Makes: 6 servings
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz can petite tomatoes, drained
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 2.25-oz can sliced olives, drained
2 teaspoons dried basil
Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until a sharp knife can be inserted easily. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until tender. Stir in tomatoes until warmed through.
Scoop spaghetti squash into medium bowl with large spoon. Toss with vegetables, cheese, olives and basil. Serve warm.
Nutritional information for each serving: 129 calories, 9g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 17mg cholesterol, 8g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3g sugars, 321mg sodium, 4g protein, 8% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 12% calcium, 4% iron.